Investments will enable firm to develop innovative products and strengthen its competitiveness
Climate action: company will be able to produce more durable steel and reduce energy consumption
The support is provided under the Investment Plan for Europe, or Juncker Plan
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has taken a further step forward in fostering innovation in the steel industry. The EU bank is financing a European leader in the production of specialised steel, Sidenor, so that it can carry out its strategic innovation plan centred on improving cost efficiency, modernising and digitalising its facilities, developing new products with higher added value and diversifying its business. To this end, the EIB is granting Sidenor a EUR 50 million loan under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the main pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe, also known as the Juncker Plan. The agreement was signed in Madrid by EIB Vice-President Emma Navarro and Sidenor’s CEO, José Antonio Jainaga.
Sidenor will use the EIB funding to acquire state-of-the-art technologies to enhance the quality of its steels and improve its production efficiency to meet the latest market demand. As well as increasing its competitiveness, these investments will enable the firm to reduce its environmental impact by producing more sustainably with less energy consumption. At the same time, the company’s new high quality steel products, produced mainly for the car industry, will be lighter and have a longer useful life.
The bulk of the projects financed by the EIB will be carried out at Sidenor’s Basauri plant, which houses its RDI centre, digitalising its production processes and using innovative solutions. Sidenor’s strategic plan includes the second phase of upgrading its rolling mill and construction of a new finishing line and new billet storage area.
All of these works will be carried out over the coming three years up to 2021 in the company’s plants located mainly in the Basque Country, and will help to safeguard jobs in the steel sector. Sidenor currently has over 2.300 employees, with some 50 researchers in its innovation centre.
At the signing ceremony in Madrid,EIB Vice-President Emma Navarro said: “This agreement with Sidenor is doubly satisfying for the EIB. On the one hand, it enables us to meet one of our priority objectives in Spain: promoting innovation in order to strengthen our businesses’ competitiveness and foster job creation. But it also represents a further step forward in the EIB’s firm commitment to climate action, supporting sustainable production in the steel industry, which is key to the European economy, and promoting the use of clean solutions for the car industry”.
European Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete, responsible for Climate Action and Energy, said: “With this investment, the EU is providing tangible support to achieve our decarbonisation objectives while helping the transition and competitiveness of our industry. Addressing emissions from carbon-intensive industry is a key priority in this context and also fosters Europe’s global leadership of climate-friendly technologies.”
“For Sidenor this agreement with the EIB represents important backing for our strategic plan, and especially for our firm commitment to innovation. We are very proud that an institution like the EIB is providing us with financial support to undertake investments that will enable us to position ourselves at the forefront of the European steel sector”, said José Antonio Jainaga, CEO of Sidenor.
The EIB-Sidenor agreement was signed under the Loans for Mid-caps in Spain and Portugal programme, a dedicated EIB financing facility for mid-caps (firms with up to 3 000 employees). Thanks to the backing of the Investment Plan for Europe, this credit line will make it possible to support investment in projects that, owing to their structure or nature, contribute to boosting growth and employment.
The EIB is providing the Institut Catalá de Finances (ICF) with a loan of up to EUR 250 million to support SMEs, the companies most vulnerable to the COVID-19 shock. The two institutions have signed the first EUR 150 million instalment of this financing agreement under an accelerated approval procedure put in place by the EIB in this emergency to ensure that the funds reach Spanish firms as quickly as possible. This is one of the first operations mounted under the EIB’s EUR 5 billion programme to safeguard European businesses in the face of the coronavirus crisis.
The EIB and Unión de Créditos Inmobiliarios (UCI) are set to finance green investments in Iberia ranging from the refurbishment of existing buildings to the construction of Nearly Zero-Energy properties. These investments will be possible thanks to the provision of energy efficiency mortgages and consumer loans to the market by UCI.
The Spanish multinational Gestamp, which specialises in the development and manufacture of metal components for the automotive industry, is receiving a EUR 200 million loan from the EIB to develop new research lines enabling the production of safer, lighter and therefore more environmentally friendly cars.